Sunday 15 December 2019

Furry Frankenstein is a creature of our own making

FURRY creatures that are fleet of foot are equipped for covering the longer distances that come with life in a country town. Running from shop to home through the cold rain of the 'Scaraveen' last week with a copy of the Sunday Independent stuffed down my coat made me bear more than a passing resemblance to a knock-kneed geisha in a kimono.

Speaking of glamour pusses, there's a femme fatale lurking around the weir who's making a few locals go weak at the knees. For all the wrong reasons. She's an American mink, which makes her one mean mamma.

Swanning around in her expensive coat, she helps herself to whatever she fancies. There's nowhere for my nervous neighbours to hide, because this jezebel has no natural predator. She's holding all the big guns. She's 'The Terminator'in high heels.

This massacre isn't science fiction, though it's scarier than any slash movie for its victims. It's fitting that the American mink is called an 'unwelcome alien'; it makes their lives as nightmarish as the Ridley Scott films.

But the picked-upon prey are pointing frightened fingers in the wrong direction. This fine-furred Cruella De Vil isn't to blame. She's on the run herself from a fearsome fate. This horror story is man-made. The furry Frankenstein is our creation. If the lady is a tramp, that's because we made her one.

The problem is fur farms. Banned in Britain and many other countries, Ireland still condones these concentration camps for animals, which are fuelled by perverse tastes. Like the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs, some people covet furry creature's skins. Even though they're wearing them.

So mink, and foxes, are crammed into wire cages to pander to this psycho fashion. Maybe death comes as a welcome release. But not a painless one. For the approximate 250,000 minks killed every year, it's met by gassing. For the fox, an electrode is inserted into his anus and mouth. Can you blame a critter for trying to escape?

Attempts to eradicate the mink are futile; there are always a few who succeed in breaking out. Wreaking havoc for our waterside mammals, to the point where some now face extinction.

So it was literally May Day outside the Department of Agriculture, where a crowd didn't let the 'Scaraveen' scare them off. They want Simon Coveney to ban fur farming. I was there on behalf of the locals upriver who are terrorised by this furry fugitive.

I just hope the Minister isn't prone to woolly thinking.

Sunday Independent

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